Forget Climate Change: The Biggest Problem Facing the World Is...

...poverty, says RealClearScience's Alex Berezow.

The single biggest threat facing humanity is poverty. That’s a mundane topic; it’s neither sexy nor trendy, but it’s nonetheless true.

About 1.3 billion people don’t have electricity....

The lack of adequate healthcare explains why, in the world’s poorest countries, six of the tenleading causes of death are infectious diseases: lower respiratory infections, diarrhea, AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and neonatal infections.

In fact, microbiologists in particular would disagree that climate change is the world’s #1 threat. Instead, their biggest fear is the terrifying rise of multi-drug resistant bacteria, as well as the ever-present threat of deadly viruses going pandemic, such as influenza and MERS....

Did you know that 250,000 to 500,000 children go blind annually from vitamin A deficiency, half of whom die within 12 months? You won’t find that sad statistic on the front page (or on any page, for that matter) of our newspapers. But think about it. Comprehend it. It might just change your perspective on global priorities.

Berezow doesn't say climate change - and possibly catastrophic effects of weather, agriculture, and more - isn't cause for concern. But he rightly points out that climate change (formerly global warming) is a relatively slow-moving situation and one that we can adapt to in all sorts of ways. But poverty and its effects - which are remediable through such easy interventions as cheap or free multivitamins and the creation of more potable water supplies - are with us right now. "Tackling the world's real problems," he notes, "doesn't make for exciting television." But it might actually make for a better world right now.

Read the whole column. And also check out the Copenhagen Consensus, which produces cost-benefit analyses of how various interventions will increase (or not) global well-being.

Katherine Mangu-Ward interviewed Berezow about his recent book, Science Left Behind:

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  • Free Society||

    the biggest problem facing the world is ignorance. That ignorance perpetuates poverty through government action and elevates "climate change" alarmism to the mainstream.

  • KPres||

    In both cases a secular religion is to blame. In the former, it's Marxism or some kind of Marxist sentiment that refuses to accept the blindingly obvious fact that the path to prosperity runs through capitalism. The latter is the naturalist Mother Gaia gobbledegook that sees humanity's dominance over nature as some kind of original sin it needs to purge through suffering.

  • Tony||

    There are no Marxists under your bed, and if it's a religion to believe in what current science says, then what should we call it when you believe the opposite?

  • Torontonian||

    You'll have to clarify... what exactly is it that "current science says"?

  • Tony||

  • Torontonian||

    No disagreement with the fact that the earth has been warming.

    No disagreement with the argument that humans have contributed to that warming.

    Where I disagree is with the religious leap to the conclusion that future warming will be catastrophic and that something must be done to prevent it.

  • Tony||

    Defining catastrophic and an acceptable level of climate change require value judgments, true, but there's nothing necessarily religious about that. I say caution is in order, you say throwing caution to the wind is preferred. Neither is more a religious position than the other. Of course you are the one in possession of a strict ideology about the role of government, and I'm concerned with practical outcomes, so I think it's pretty clear who would let bias creep in more.

  • free2booze||

    Caution is in order. We should be cautious before we dump an insane amount of money into solutions to prevent climate change, when we don't even have an understanding of the problem.

  • Tony||

    You not understanding something isn't the same thing as everyone not understanding it.

  • KPres||

    It isn't understood. If it were understood, past predictions would have borne out...

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp.....means1.png

  • Torontonian||

    KPres,

    The models are in consensus... it's the observations that are in denial of "current science".

    With some minor adjustments, that discrepancy can be resolved.

  • KPres||

    "Defining catastrophic and an acceptable level of climate change require value judgments, true, but there's nothing necessarily religious about that."

    Correct, but environmentalists' value judgements are influenced by their stupid secular religion..the hatred of humanity, industry and progress...the earth worship, etc.

    That's the whole point.

  • Tony||

    But that's all complete nonsense. The point of being an environmentalist is to protect humanity's habitat from destruction. So it's the willfully ignorant anti-environmentalists who are anti-human. Pretending that facts aren't facts doesn't absolve you of that.

  • Tony||

    "As of 2007, when the American Association of Petroleum Geologists released a revised statement, no scientific body of national or international standing rejected the findings of human-induced effects on climate change."

  • ||

    so...as of 2007 no one had proved a negative?

    stunning.

  • Tony||

    There is nothing more annoying on planet earth than a roomful of people who took community college logic 101 and think they know everything about how logic works. Except a room full of people who took econ 101 and think they know everything about economics.

  • Torontonian||

    And I agree with them.

    What's your point?

  • Tony||

    You asked the question...

  • Torontonian||

    You suggested that we "believe the opposite" of "what current science says".

    In reality, the scientists agree on a very narrow consensus: a) that the earth is warming, and b) that human activity is a factor. And I agree with both points.

    You're extrapolating that narrow consensus into a much broader argument for policy action, without any evidence for c) how much warming should be expected, d) how much of a net environmental and socioeconomic impact would that warming have after considering both the positives and negatives, e) what would be the cost and effectiveness of policy action to prevent warming.

    The consensus evaporates at point C.

  • KPres||

    "You'll have to clarify... what exactly is it that "current science says"?"

    Statements like "I believe in climate change" and "the current science" are not all that different that "I believe in Jesus" or "Muhammed is the one true prophet" in that they're deliberately void of meaning or nuance, and their purpose is to convey tribal allegiance rather than open discussion.

    Reason recently linked to a HuffPo roundtable circle-jerk where the moderator claimed that climate-change was "an extinction level event". Not only is that nonsense, it's dangerous nonsense so outlandish that it can only be inspired by a fundamentalists devotion, not cold analysis.

    It is a secular religion.

  • KPres||

    And lets not forget this gem:

    http://www.agoracosmopolitan.c.....01291.html

    A fundamentalist freak if there ever was one.

  • Zeb||

    The problem is not so much with the science (though there are some problems there, climate science is not nearly so advanced as they would like you to believe), but with the mixing of science and politics. Science cannot tell us how bad of a thing climate change is or what (if anything) should be done about it. That is pure politics and sometimes looks suspiciously like a religion (though I happen to think that to be properly called religion, something needs some god or gods or at least some spiritual or supernatural aspect).

  • Tony||

    Like the magical free market?

    Science cannot make our value judgments for us, though it can inform them. Surely you can agree that a responsible, neutral arbiter would treat the libertarian position on what should be done as being on one extreme end. You're inherently biased against centralized action, so you're likely to advocate an inadequate response.

  • KPres||

    Not at all like the free market, which is generally recognized by it's proponents as an analytical tool and an ideal, as opposed to a actually existing state, and importantly, tries explicitly NOT to make (or at least tries to minimize) universal value judgements, which is really the hallmark of a religion and what makes them dangerous.

  • Free Society||

    The magical free market is simply people exchanging goods and services free of coercion. It's not a place, or a polity or any kind of entity with specific goals or motives. I know that's hard for you to wrap your mind around.

    Empirical evidence is inherently biased against central planning and it just so happens that libertarians are on the side supported by empirical evidence.

  • Tony||

    So why should we entrust it with the goal of preserving the planet's climate? Environmental harm is the classic market failure.

  • Free Society||

    We're not entrusting anything with anything. We're arguing that coercive government/collective interaction is an order of magnitude less effective than voluntary interaction between free people.

    In order for a market to fail, it needs to be a thing capable of having goals or intentions to fail at. Failing to recognize that a market is not a monolithic superbeing is the classic Tony failure. You can't even argue your points without employing logical fallacies and redefining the words you use.

  • Sam Grove||

    There is a fair degree of Marxist influence on the conversation.

    For instance:
    Profit making is bad
    Central banking
    Government controlled education
    Political correctness
    Industrial policy
    etc.

  • ||

    Just send their governments money. That's always worked out exceptionally well in the past.

  • Rich||

    The single biggest threat facing humanity is poverty.

    And what is the cause of poverty?

    Sexual intercourse.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I thought that was the leading cause of blindness?

  • AlexInCT||

    Only when practiced without a partner?

  • AlmightyJB||

    No wonder my eyes are so bad.

  • fish||

    Who said that....I can't see you?

  • AlmightyJB||

    These are people who have rested the yokes of capitalism and materialsm and are obviously better off for it. No one "needs" electricity.

  • Floridian||

    I was thinking the same thing. USA is evil because it is capitalistic and focuses on PROFITS. Third world countries are backwards because they live in poverty. What is wrong with the people who can't see the link.

  • AlmightyJB||

    1. Destroy all wealth
    2. Something...something...
    3. Utopia

  • Doctor Whom||

    I was thinking

    No wonder you don't get it. Stop thinking and start emoting, and all will be clear to you.

  • AlexInCT||

    Well climate change taxes should produce the redistributable wealth that will fix poverty. Give up your freedoms and your cash for the greater good!

    /stoopid

  • Fluffy||

    The people who want to fight global warming would be horrified if third world poverty were defeated.

    Because if third world poverty were defeated, then McDonald's and the Gap and KFC would open outlets in third world countries to serve these new non-poor populations.

    And that would ruin the sense of adventure the Volvo class gets when they vacation in the third world.

    Who's going to get their pictures taken riding donkeys or wearing straw hats in rice paddies if we solve the problem of third world poverty? Nobody, that's who. That can't be allowed to happen, because middle-aged white women want to take adventurous vacations.

  • SweatingGin||

    The people who want to fight global warming would be horrified if third world poverty were defeated.

    Plus, if those poor people aren't dying from their poverty, and get electricity and such, that'll mean more global warming. More GAIA RAPE!

  • John||

    You can't save gaia without making sure the wrong people don't breed too much.

  • Floridian||

    Dave Attenborough for one would like to see those little brown people starve to death.

    Why do you hate Dave Attenborough Fluffy?

  • John||

    Think of the incredible documentary he could make watching it happen.

  • Floridian||

    I actually have all the Dave Attenborough specials and really enjoy them. I was saddened to learn that he thinks humans are a plague. Not so much of a plague as to not accept all their dirty money from tv deals and dvd sales, but a plague none the less. Oh well, I mainly watch for the wildlife anyways so I guess I don't have to burn my collection.

  • John||

    He is a great film maker. There are so many dumbed down documentaries on today, you forget how cool a well made nature documentary is. His are kind of the gold standard for those. I was sad to hear that too. I always like him and his brother Richard both. They always seemed to be the sort of eccentric brilliant Brits they don't make anymore.

  • Fluffy||

    Holy crap.

    Your post has ONLY JUST NOW alerted me to the fact that these aren't the same guy.

    There are two of these dudes?

    Gosh.

  • John||

    They are brothers fluffy. Richard is the actor, he played the top British officer in the Great Escape and made a ton of movies as an actor and director. David makes nature documentaries.

  • Floridian||

    Did you watch life in the under growth? I think that is my favorite. I always liked insects but that documentary really taught me a lot. Most specials focus on the cute animals now. Sure I like penguins but many times can I watch them huddled together for warmth?

  • John||

    I saw that and liked it a lot. My favorite still is one he made in the late 70s about termite mounds in Africa. He got cameras right in the mound and got this incredible footage of them fighting a colony of ants nearby in addition to this unbelievable scene of a monitor lizard killing and eating a cobra.

  • Floridian||

    I think I saw that one. It had special guard termites that had massive jaws. I think the ants worked them over pretty good if it is the same documentary.

  • John||

    Yes. The ants won and the termites had to pick up and take the queen and move to another mound. The scenes of the guard termites fighting to the death against the ant advanced guard were just incredible.

  • some guy||

    Yeah, who cares if he's an idiot. He still produces goods that I want to consume. Hell, if I decided I needed to burn every cd/dvd made by a liberal statist 99% of my music/video collection would go up in flames.

  • Floridian||

    On a similar not did you see Jim Carrey apologized for his comments about gun owners?

  • Torontonian||

    Jim Carrey is a Canadian.

    Who cares what he has to say?

  • Metazoan||

    That's exactly it. They treat the developing world (in other words, most of their fellow humans) as a museum exhibit. They insist that development destroys the developing world's "way of life" without even asking whether those people even want that way of life.

  • wareagle||

    The people who wantclaim to fight global warmingany scare issue would be horrified if third world povertytheir hobby horse were defeated.

  • KPres||

    Having grown up with these people, I see it more as an integral part of their superiority complex. They need somebody to suffer in order to provide an object for their false compassion, which they need to reassure them that they're oh so much more evolved than all those "other" westerners they snub their noses at.

  • Kuze||

    Well said.
    The narcissism of pathological altruism.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea.....0.abstract

    My pet theory: outcompeted for attractive mates by the more physically fit but duller jocks in high school the contemporary leftwing misanthrope is motivated by revenge and intellectual narcissism.

  • Brett L||

    Having an ongoing fight with an attorney friend on FB in which we have the 80,000th go-round about why prosperity is the only cure for CO2 emissions. She wants to agree, but she knows she's being trapped somehow.

  • John||

    Sure that is the world's biggest problem. But it is hard to address it when all of the world's right thinking people view economic growth as a zero sum game and think the only way to make the poor less poor is to make other people more poor.

    Beyond that there are a whole lot of morons who have this romantic view of poverty. The white man's burden used to be to lift the dark races out of darkness. That has morphed into, keep the dark races in their noble state of nature and observe them on vacation.

  • Metazoan||

    That has morphed into, keep the dark races in their noble state of nature and observe them on vacation.

    I'm beginning to see that this is true. And honestly, it's such a terrible way to think of one's fellow man that I can't even find the words to describe it.

  • John||

    It is horrible. It reduces them to animals. You feel bad for a Tiger trapped in a zoo because being free and living in nature is what Tiger's do. To look at a human being and say "they need to stay in their traditional culture" is look at them as being animals who have one state which they are perpetually supposed to inhabit. In the same way it makes me feel good that there are still at least a few Siberian Tigers in the wild, these people feel good that there are still people living in gut wrenching subsistence poverty exactly like their ancestors were 2000 years ago. That is just sick.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    Who? I don't know a single liberal who looks at a starving or sick child and thinks that it's the most awesome thing ever. They think hey I wish that child had food or medicine. There may be some minority whackos who actually think that way but most just want these people to have access to food and healthcare. You just conjure up these little fantasies of yours to dehumanize your opponents or maybe you've been saying this stupid shit for so long you actually believe it.

  • John||

    I don't know a single liberal who looks at a starving or sick child and thinks that it's the most awesome thing ever. They think hey I wish that child had food or medicine

    Sure they do. But they deny them the ability to get such. If giving that child food and medicine means bringing that child's society into capitalism and the 21st Century, they are not so keen on doing it.

  • Tony||

    Whereas you possess a superior moral position because while doing nothing to help any poor people, you also bitch about liberals.

  • Zeb||

    Giving poor people free food and money (well the money usually just gets wasted by their corrupt governments) may be a good thing in an emergency, but it does nothing to improve their state in the long term. Only economic development through capitalism can do that.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I'm baffled as to how liberals can look at capitalism as the most horrible thing ever when it has demonstrably created the highest standard of living for the highest number of people in the history of the world.

    Meanwhile big government has created 100 million deaths or more in genocide alone. And that doesn't count famine.

  • AlexInCT||

    Don't forget the billions that were repressed/oppressed by big government. For their own good, of course.

  • ||

    That's right Tony, none of us build houses or work at food banks or shelters or donate money to such. Nope, we just sit here twirling our monocles and twisting our handlebar mustaches laughing maniacally while the rest of the world burns.

    God you are a mendacious little twat.

  • CatoTheElder||

    It's Munchausen by proxy on a societal level.

    Phony liberals donate aid money to enrich cronies and enlarge governments in underdeveloped countries. Aid money is used just as predicted by choice theory. Domestic cronies benefit from friction losses in aid grants and foreign government recipients are enlarged. The latter funds rent-seeking regulatory regimes in the recipient countries, diminution of property rights, and the rise of a political class that can be manipulated by donor interests.

    The vast majority of people in the recipient countries continue to suffer from the absence of genuine property rights and rule of law. Because the phony liberals in donor nations appear so caring and sincere, they are praised for their altruistic concern. Phony liberals love the attention. And, of course, they aren't actually donating anything of their own, but just oppressing working people with higher taxes to fund this bullshit.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Then there is the phony liberal variant of Munchausen by depriving tropical regions of DDT.

  • AlexInCT||

    Malaria only kills those brown people...

  • sarcasmic||

    Beyond that there are a whole lot of morons who have this romantic view of poverty.

    Poverty is so romantic that they want to push it upon everyone.
    What do you think the logical conclusion of "sustainability" is? That's right. Everyone living in a shack and living off the land. In other words, poverty.

  • John||

    If no one was in poverty, who would smug liberals have to feel sorry for?

  • KPres||

    "Pity does not aim at the pleasure of others any more than malice aims at the pain of others. For in pity at least two elements of personal pleasure are contained, and it is to that extent self‑enjoyment: first of all, it is the pleasure of the emotion and second, when it drives us to act, it is the pleasure of our satisfaction in the exercise of power." ~Neitzsche

  • John||

    Nietzsche really understood man and what drives man. It is funny, I am a Christian theist, but of all of the philosophers I read in college, Nietzsche influenced my thinking about the world as much as any other them.

  • Fluffy||

    The really funny thing is that poverty is the least sustainable lifestyle of all.

    Look at the Haitian half of the island of Hispaniola. That is the end game of "sustainable lifestyles".

    Poor people destroy everything in their path because they don't have the capital to use fuels, agricultural methods, industrial methods, etc. that don't ruin the productive potential of whatever land they're standing on.

  • John||

    Yup. The Greens like to claim it is the loggers destroying the Amazon. It is actually subsistence farming that is doing it. Few things are more damaging to the environment than subsistence farming.

    A 150 years ago, most of eastern America was covered in what amounts to subsistence farming. And all of the game and most of the forests were cut down. Once we got rich enough that such farms were no longer economically viable, people moved the cities and suburbs and places like Massachusetts have more trees and more game than they had before settlement.

  • sarcasmic||

    A 150 years ago, most of eastern America was covered in what amounts to subsistence farming.

    But, but, but back then everyone grew their own food! It was sustainable! Now most food is grown by evil CORE-POUR-RAY-SHUNS! It's terrible! Food is cheap and mass produced! Poor people are fat because food is so cheap! CORE-POUR-RAY-SHUNS are raking in profits off of cheap food! Oh the humanity!

  • Tony||

    You've really got to figure out how to stop seeing the world in a good vs. evil light.

    Environmental harm is environmental harm, no matter who is doing it. Being useful would mean coming up with a solution, not just mouth-pissing on your political opponents.

  • sarcasmic||

    There is a solution. It's called liberty. Emergent order.

    I wouldn't expect you to comprehend that though, since all you understand is coercion and force.

  • Tony||

    That's a response with absolutely no substance. You're essentially saying you believe in magic, and I'm dumb because I don't.

    People have been wrecking the natural world since long before modern institutions came into being. The only thing known to mitigate it is conscious action. There is nothing--absolutely nothing--even about bullshit free market theory that says environmental protection necessarily emerges organically. That's because it doesn't factor in externalities.

  • sarcasmic||

    You're essentially saying you believe in magic, and I'm dumb because I don't.

    No. I'm saying that millions of minds inventing bottom-up solutions are much better than a few people with political power imposing top-down solutions.

    In your ideal world everyone would have a Trabant.

  • Tony||

    Sometimes all it takes to innovate is dumping lots of money onto a problem. In fact, I challenge you to name a single large-scale technological change from the last century that didn't depend at least in part on large government expenditures.

  • sarcasmic||

    I challenge you to name a single large-scale technological change from the last century that didn't depend at least in part on large government expenditures.

    Politicians are people who see a parade, and then run to the front and pretend like they were leading it all along.

    Smart people understand that the politician leading the parade had no part in creating or organizing it. He just ran to the front.

    You're not smart people.

  • free2booze||

    I challenge you to name a single large-scale technological change from the last century that didn't depend at least in part on large government expenditures.

    That may be true, but that change came purely by accident. The interstate highway system was built because the military needed a way to mobilize quickly in case of invasion. Putting a man on the moon was a way of demonstrating American superiority over the Soviets. The internet was developed to provide the military a means of communication after a nuclear attack.

    These changes came as a result of a practical application, usually by the military. They were not attempts at social engineering, or changing behavior.

  • Tony||

    Which only suggests that directed action can succeed all the more. Let's not fetishize accidental emergence. It happens, but planning still exists and is useful, as every businessman knows.

  • Free Society||

    Which only suggests that directed action can succeed all the more. Let's not fetishize accidental emergence. It happens, but planning still exists and is useful, as every businessman knows.

    Planning isn't the issue. Spontaneous order that results from free markets is the product of planning, the planning of thousands to millions of free individuals acting in their best interest. The difference is that businessmen aren't using force to compel others to submit to their best interests. That is unless they have government help.

  • Greg F||

    I challenge you to name a single large-scale technological change from the last century that didn't depend at least in part on large government expenditures.

    The electrification of the U.S. started 50 years before the TVA came into existence.

    The invention of the semiconductor at Bell Labs.

    The invention of the integrated circuit at Texas Instruments.

    The invention of the microprocessor at Intel.

    Pretty much every significant technological advance in the last 100 or so years were private investors taking a chance.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I challenge you to name a single large-scale technological change from the last century that didn't depend at least in part on large government expenditures.

    So many things, so little time...

    Mass production

    Lasers

    Camera/video technology

    Artifical light and the power plants to wire homes

    ...

    Telegraph/telephone/cell phones....

  • ||

    "Wealth apologists"

    Shut the fuck up you piece of shit. You have already told us what your motives are.

  • KPres||

    "-even about bullshit free market theory that says environmental protection necessarily emerges organically."

    Of course it does. People don't want to pollute what they own. Common property they don't give a shit about.

    "That's because it doesn't factor in externalities."

    Yes it does. Property itself is nothing but an answer to "externalities".

  • Tony||

    So how do you divide up the atmosphere?

  • Free Society||

    you demonstrate the harm that others are causing to your airspace. In a common law system, you'd have a case. In our case, statutory law rules and gives a monopoly of enforcement an inept and corrupt federal agency. Welcome to Tonyland.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Environmental harm is environmental harm, no matter who is doing it.

    Is that why wind farms are treated differently than other companies when protected birds are killed accidentally?

    Shut the fuck up.

  • Tony||

    Like you give a shit about birds.

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    Allegedly, you and your ilk do.

  • ||

    I actually do. But it is plainly obvious that you don't care about anything except yourself and your sense of superiority.

  • KPres||

    "You've really got to figure out how to stop seeing the world in a good vs. evil light."

    Unbelievable. That's all you people do. That's why you want the state to force values on people, so your "good" be applied universally.

  • mad libertarian guy||

  • CatoTheElder||

  • sarcasmic||

    There is an inverse relationship between economic freedom and poverty. The less economic freedom there is, the more poverty you will find.

    The solution, of course, is more government.

  • Dweebston||

    Kleptocracies and thuggish warlord regimes repress Africans' economic involvement, so we need an even bigger government to intercede on their behalf with mountains of cash. Somehow, the marriage of money and power will rescue Africans from poverty.

  • kinnath||

    Surely you're not saying we have the resources
    To save the poor from their lot?
    There will be poor always, pathetically struggling -
    Look at the good things you've got!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Obviously, those people are not taxed enough to support a government capable of providing for them.

  • AlexInCT||

    I hope you weren't trying to be sarcastic here. Every intelligent and educated person knows that all money should really belong to the government and they should then let you keep what they feel you deserve. It's the ony way to stop poverty....

    Marx said somethign like that. Hoarders should be ashamed of their hoarding. Re-education camps! Where is Pol pot when you need him, huh?

  • sarcasmic||

  • Zeb||

    Nice. Double sarcasm.

  • sarcasmic||

    I know! I know!

    Let's tax energy! That will raise the cost of everything, making everyone poorer!

    Before long, everyone will be in poverty and it won't matter because there won't be any rich people to envy!

  • John||

    If those people had windmills and solar, they would be so much richer. I mean when you don't have running water, screens even basic healthcare like vaccinations, or proper sanitation, what you really need is a solar panel that costs thousands of dollars and produces enough electricity to run a radio three days a week as long as it is no the rainy season.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's better than them having cheap carbon based energy and cheap products made with cheap carbon based energy. Cheap carbon based energy generates profits for multinational corporations. That's unfair.

  • John||

    And worse, when they get all of that stuff, they will give up their groovy traditional culture and embrace consumerism. Before you know it, they will be buying cars and TVs and satellite dishes and there will be a Starbucks or something. That would be horrible.

  • sarcasmic||

    Instead of starving to death in the streets like the should, Americans in poverty are dying of obesity related conditions while watching cable television. It's terrible.

  • free2booze||

    If those people had windmills and solar, they would be so much richer.

    Of course they would, but only after the windmills and solar panels were stripped down for parts and used to build something useful

  • ||

    "Let's tax energy! That will raise the cost of everything, making everyone poorer!"

    Whut? But Chapman told us that would make everyone fabulously rich....

  • Free Society||

    Steve Chapman is the greatest and most archetypal libertarian to ever exist. You leave him alone!

  • AlexInCT||

    Speaking of windmills. I remember reading some story that at some wind farm inauguration some rare bird that everyone though no longer frequented the climes of the country they put the windmills in was killed by the turning blades. Almost as sad as that video of the ceremony for some seals that were released after rescuers spent $50k per helping them recover from some man made disaster, only to have an orca gobble them all up while the band was playing. Life is harsh that way.

  • John||

    That was in the UK. There was a bird that hadn't been seen in the British Isles in decades. The bird watchers found it and saw it just long enough to watch it die in a windmill.

    Those things are killing so many birds. It is so inhumane. All to feed the needs of the believers in the death cult known as global warming.

  • sarcasmic||

    Is there a religion that's not a doomsday cult?
    Even Christianity.
    Ever read the Book of Revelation? The signs of The End of the World are all around us. Always have been. Always will be.

  • John||

    In a sense yes. The difference is that all but the most extreme Christians haven't dedicated their lives to bringing it about. It is kind of up to God. The Green cult however demands that everyone work to bring it about.

  • Dweebston||

    Bizarre are the lifelong atheists who happen across Revelations mythos perpetuated by Alex Jones types, and suddenly discover their spirituality in preparation for the coming spiritual wars and end times.

    My brother's ex is a carnival of crazy that way. Not cotton candy carnival crazy, just creepy clown crazy.

  • AlexInCT||

    What do you mean creepy clown crazy? All clowns are creepy and crazy. Freakking monsters all of them. Why do you think they weat them big shoes and the red noses, huh? And clown cars? have you seen how many of those unholy fucks are packed into one of those things? Yikes!

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    I don't know about that john I meet socons who casually say stuff about how society is coming apart because of how people act today and I meet greens who casually say were killing the planet with the way people act today. Then there are a few radicals in each camp that get more attention. I think the difference you're seeing between the two is because you're in one of the cults and don't want it criticized.

  • John||

    No Zack,

    The difference is that the SCONS are not actively advocating policies that will directly harm me. The day the SOCONS start telling me I need to get rid of air conditioning or stop driving a car to save the earth from the wrath of God or telling me I can't get medical care will have to pray instead is the day I will put them on the level of Greens.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    Ever notice how most of these zealot greens drive cars? and have air conditioning? that is become the majority is not as radical as you make them out to be. You only look at the most radical in the movement, if we did that with christianity we would find people that would deny medical care because it is an affront to god. You would find people that would stone homos and single mothers.

  • Brett L||

    Eh. I figure its like squirrels and roads. Eventually the ones who don't have the avoidance mechanism will all die off. Nature is flexible that way.

  • Bam!||

    You're assuming they get run over before they breed.

  • Metazoan||

    All to feed the needs of the believers in the death cult known as global warming.

    And it really does become that. If they were serious about reducing harm to the environment, they'd applaud fracking and the expansion of the use of natural gas, which burns much cleaner than coal (and is actually economically viable).

  • John||

    Those fuckers loved natural gas in the 1990s when we didn't think there was that much of it in the world. Once natural gas was found to be abundant and a real alternative to coal, they turned on it. They just want poverty and misery. They don't give a shit about the environment.

  • Metazoan||

    It's true. I once had to take some bullshit "environment studies" class or whatever to satisfy a requirement, and we had to read about some asshole talking about how one concern with renewable energy is that maybe people wouldn't feel the need to limit their consumption if they knew that their energy source was abundant and renewable.

    My response: The fuck?! I thought that was the point!

    Oh, how naive...

  • Tony||

    Natural gas, also known as methane, is a stronger greenhouse gas than CO2. At best it is only a less bad source of emissions.

    Industries built on drilling--which would disappear in a renewables world--have spent lots and lots of money trying to convince you otherwise, though. The problem is people thinking that natural gas is somehow a clean energy rather than simply a less-bad fossil fuel that makes it still a part of the problem. How about instead of building up an infrastructure for something that will only make the problem worse (if a little more slowly--maybe), we build up one that doesn't contribute to it at all?

  • John||

    To believe that you have to believe that someone has the technology to produce cheap renewable energy yet chooses not to even though such technology would make one rich beyond imagination.

    The idea that Exon or Shell would not develop renewable energy if it were profitable because they just like spending billions drilling for oil is nonsense.

    Renewable energy is not practical and not economic. The day it becomes so, people will start using it no subsidies or laws needed. By advocating for laws subsidizing and requiring renewable energy Tony, you are admitting that it is not practical and a ticket to poverty. If it wasn't, you wouldn't have to subsidize it.

  • Tony||

    You're implying that fossil fuel industries are operating in a free and unsubsidized market. John, not only has the entire world been set up to burn fossil fuels for over a century, and not only are fossil fuel industries among the richest and most powerful in the world, entire nations are built almost entirely on them. There is nothing free market about oil. Supply is absolutely controlled, and demand exists only because we have no other choice.

    You bitch about subsidizing poor people's food stamps, but you practically jerk off to the idea of subsidizing the high standard of living of Kuwaitis. What a farce.

    Of course switching to a new energy model will require directed action and spending lots of public money. We have to compete with a long-entrenched status quo, heavily propped up by governments including our own.

    And without even realizing it, you're a cog in that machine, parroting bullshit scare stories about renewable energy and other propaganda you suck up simply and only because of your political preferences. Through it all you miss the entire point: we don't have a choice. Burning more and more fossil fuels, especially as huge populations are lifted out of poverty, is simply not compatible with anyone maintaining a high standard of living. Whatever you think will be the horrible result of favoring solar power, the alternative is without question worse.

  • ||

    There's a simple solution to the whole CO2* thing that none of you fucking retarded cultist think about: Plant a fucking tree. And on the up side, we get more oxygen to breath.

    I'm sure that's much too simple for the TOP MEN to implement as it doesn't involve any control.

    *CO2 is not a fucking pollutant.

  • AlexInCT||

    To believe that you have to believe that someone has the technology to produce cheap renewable energy yet chooses not to even though such technology would make one rich beyond imagination.

    Don't you know the evil KORPO-RAY-SHUNS would kill you and prevent you from becoming rich, John? Have you not been following the numerous accounts of people inventing perpetual motion machines and unlimited energy sources only to be killed so the fossil fuel military-industrial-complex could keep raking in the moolah? It’s all a conspiracy man. Electric cars, combustion engine that run on peanut butter & jelly sammiches, cold fusion reactors build from paperclips and ice cubes, cats & dogs living together, mass hysteria, all of that has been suppressed!

  • Metazoan||

    Natural gas, also known as methane, is a stronger greenhouse gas than CO2. At best it is only a less bad source of emissions.

    And you burn methane, not release it willy-nilly into the atmosphere. Burning it results in the production of CO2 and water- and less of it than alternative methods.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    "not release it willy-nilly into the atmosphere. "

    actually they do quite a bit of this when they are digging for it.

  • Metazoan||

    Enough to more than balance the efficiency gains of burning natural gas?

  • Tony||

    There is no gain. It's just releasing greenhouse gases (possibly) at a slower rate. Natural gas is not clean. It is just (possibly) less dirty.

  • sarcasmic||

    And you burn methane, not release it willy-nilly into the atmosphere.

    This is Tony we're talking about. Burning. Releasing. It's all the same to him. He doesn't do well with distinctions.

  • ||

    That is right, y'all just read an explicit call for powering the world with unicorn farts.

    Shut the fuck up Tony.

  • KPres||

    "At best it is only a less bad source of emissions."

    Everything is at best "less bad" you dumbfuck.

    "How about instead of building up an infrastructure for something that will only make the problem worse (if a little more slowly--maybe), we build up one that doesn't contribute to it at all?"

    Uhhhhh....maybe because they cost anywhere from 4 to 20 times as much?

  • Tony||

    Doing nothing will cost more.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Doing nothing will cost more.

    citation needed

  • Pro Libertate||

    More freedom, more rule of law and respect for property rights, more markets, more technology.

  • Floridian||

    Can you imagine the advances in technology if the whole world decided to leave poverty behind? Imagine all the potential wasted in the people who live in places that their talents can't be expressed. Billions of people actively improving the future. Oh, I made myself a little sad thinking about all the lost years of mankind.

  • John||

    If you want to get really depressed, think of all of the lost potential of the people killed in the World Wars and by fascism and communism. Look at all of the incredible shit Germany and Russia produced in the 19th Century. Eighty percent of the males born in Russia between 1918 and 1925 were dead by 1945. How many Tolstoys and Tchaikovskys or Heisenbergs died in the Gulag or on the Eastern Front?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Ah, I think we can now see why we don't have fusion, flying cars, and moonbases.

    I'd rather have those than governments killing people en masse, wouldn't you?

  • John||

    The world in 1910 was pretty awesome in many ways. People were much freer. The real totalitarian state had not yet been invented. And science had not been hijacked by the military and governments yet. So scientists were free to talk to each other and share ideas. All of that ended with the First World War. The more I read and think about it, the more I am convinced the First World War was the greatest human tragedy since the black plague.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Pretty bad. Without it, likely no Bolshevik takeover in Russia, no Nazi rise to power, no WWII, etc. Sure, maybe the alternative would've been as bad or worse, but what actually happened was horrific. Look at the stats for the percentage of French and Russian (in particular) deaths in certain male demographic groups for the wars--absolutely horrific.

  • John||

    Hard to imagine a worse alternative to Nazism and Bolshavism. You might have still had the Japanese fascists. And the German nationalists who ran Imperial Germany were pretty big assholes, as were many of the European powers in the way they treated their colonies. But all of that as bad as it was pales in comparison to fascism and communism.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dunno, maybe we'd have ended up with a nuclear war? Don't think it would've been all tea and crumpets if those particular world wars hadn't happened.

    Still, what did happen was horrific, and it's more likely we'd have suffered less without WWI happening. Remember that when you're time-traveling.

  • John||

    I know. I can't quite decide if things had been better if Germany had won the war quickly and made peace with Russia.

  • sarcasmic||

    The real totalitarian state had not yet been invented.

    You kidding? The totalitarian state has been the default state of mankind. The Enlightenment and liberty were aberrations in history. Slavery is the norm. If not slavery as chattel, then slavery to the state. All that has changed is the technology. Subjugation to the state is the norm.

    What happened was not the beginning of the totalitarian state. It was the death of liberty.

  • John||

    I would call those authoritarian states sarcasmic. A state like say old France or Imperial Russia was certainly despotic. But it wasn't totalitarian in the sense that Soviet Russia was. And that was because they lacked the technology to control every aspect of life.

    Despotism is the natural state of man. True totalitarianism is I think something new to the 20th century.

  • sarcasmic||

    I see your point.

  • ChrisO||

    You're conflating authoritarianism with totalitarianism. The totalitarian state didn't truly exist until after WWI, though the First Republic in France flirted with it.

  • ChrisO||

    I wasn't fast enough on the keyboard, John.

  • Floridian||

    I did until John sunk me into a suicidal depression.
    (j/k NSA, don't baker act me.)

  • creech||

    Judging by today's paper, the answer seems to be to send 35 high schoolers plus chaperones to Honduras for two weeks to dig trenches and do carpentry on a clinic and school. Figure $1500 each for the experience (looks good on college app). However, same sum could pay for an un-(under-) employed Honduran to do the same work for appx. 3 or 4 months and help create a self-sustaining free economy.

  • Floridian||

    Umm... Why can't Hondurans dig their own trenches?

  • Metazoan||

    Because how else are the idiot sons and daughters of the rich going to put on their resume that they helped cute poor people for a week?

  • sarcasmic||

    Umm... Why can't Hondurans dig their own trenches?

    I imagine it's because they can't afford the permits and bribes required by the government goons.

  • Floridian||

    I laughed

  • MJGreen||

    Because they need us to show them how to do it correctly.

  • ||

    Is Berezow calling attention to poverty to encourage people to do something about it or to distract from the issue of global warming? Poverty is a problem. Global warming is [going to be] a problem, especially for poor people. Addressing one does not preclude addressing the other. My mortgage loan is my largest debt. Does that mean I should just worry about paying that off first, then think about paying off my car loan?

  • Floridian||

    I think the difference is that poverty is a known active measurably problem where climate change is a potential problem. A better analogy is putting out a house fire before installing an alarm system. The fire is happening now, a burglar may come next week or never.

  • Tony||

    Climate change is happening right now. There's a fire in the kitchen and in the living room.

  • Floridian||

    You're back. I tried having a discussion with you on your opinions on climate change but then you left. I wanted to know what energy source you would use instead of fossil fuels?

  • sarcasmic||

    If we all lived in poverty we wouldn't need a new energy source.

  • Floridian||

    You ever notice when there is a topic on global warming we get commenters who have never commented before? Is there like a group that searches the web daily for any articles that don't 100% support the climate change narrative?

  • sarcasmic||

    It does bring out the idiots, that's for sure.

    But I was being serious about poverty. That's what sustainability is all about. The logical conclusion of reducing your carbon footprint is living on a self sufficient commune. There's a word for that: poverty.

  • ||

    Is "commenters who have never commented before" meaning me? I will assume so since you responded to Tony with "You're back." Well, ask around, son. This site existed long before you ever heard of it. It's not my fault if rarely attracts a class of commenters worth interacting with anymore.

  • Floridian||

    Wow you are sensitive. I made a mistake in using the word never. I don't know if you personally have commented before or not. I just noticed that climate articles bring out people who rarely comment on other topics. Sorry if that offended you, not sure how that observation is offensive but apologies for the poor choice of words.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    I don't comment to often but I usually at least look through the headlines on my app on an almost daily basis. A lot of the time the articles don't interest me enough to comment but I usually show up for articles about animals or possibly some other topics if I don't have much going on that day. I don't know how you regulars keep up on all the threads everyday lol.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't know how you regulars keep up on all the threads everyday lol.

    We have boring jobs.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    "We have boring jobs."

    ah, I always assumed everyone here was a self loathing welfare mom.

    I deliver pizzas, I have on occasion glanced at some articles but I don't think I'm brave enough to try commenting while driving.

  • Floridian||

    I've seen you comment, but with the global warming ones I see names pop up I've never seen before. I guess people cruise reason without commenting more than I thought.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    I think it is, I mean i've done more commenting in the past couple weeks but when I was going to school and working I don't think I ever left a comment. I did still read them somewhat, there are occasionally some gems amongst all the crap.

  • Floridian||

    I come here mainly to learn about/from other people. It is also a useful place for me to discuss politics so I don't have to in real life. Most people I know don't like politics or don't share my views.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    I do that as well, I'm hardly a libertarian but this is a good place to discuss some politics and maybe learn something new when the people in the real world just want to parrot the trendy lines without thinking about what they are saying.

  • Tony||

    Clean alternatives such as solar, wind, geothermal, and other innovative means are already replacing fossil fuels at a steady rate. Nuclear is also preferable. With any luck we'll have fusion within 50 years.

    One important change we'll have to make is to put governments in charge of energy production and distribution. The social goal is completely at odds with the market incentives. We want cheap abundant energy, and it's hard to get rich off of cheap and abundant things.

  • sarcasmic||

    it's hard to get rich off of cheap and abundant things.

    Behold! The Stupid! With a capital S!

  • Metazoan||

    Wow, holy shit. I just can't even.

  • Floridian||

    I think fusion is a possibility in the future. Nuclear is viable now if the government would get out of the way. Solar has consumed more energy in fossil fuels than it has produced. Wind has reliability issues. What about natural gas as a bridge fuel until more nuclear plants can be built? When i was in Spain they went full renewable energy and had to buy most their power from France which uses primarily nuclear power. I think there is a lesson there.

  • Tony||

    If nuclear truly is the most viable alternative, fine, but there's no getting government out of the way, and you have to abandon all pretense of free market adherence to support nuclear--it simply would not exist on its own without government subsidy.

  • Floridian||

    Why can it not exist on its own? The process to build nuclear plants is unnecessarily long and creates extra expense. Also the government is slow to recognize improvements in nuclear design because they would have to re-write the guidelines. I see no need for subsidies. It cost X to produce a mega watt. Charge X + whatever the market will tolerate. New jobs, clean energy, market solution if people are willing to pay the price difference between nuclear and fossil fuels. Everybody wins. That is why I engaged you on this topic tony. We don't need to divide each other in camps. We can have different philosophies and still work towards common goals even with different intentions. You want less co2, I want a stable energy source.

  • sarcasmic||

    The first nuclear reactor was the Manhattan Project. The heat generated in the process of turning Uranium into Plutonium was a waste product. Then they figured out they could use that waste heat to generate electricity. With the Cold War in full swing, nuclear power plants popped up everywhere. Why? To create bomb fuel. The electricity was just a bonus. Now that the government doesn't need anymore bomb fuel, it has no interest in any new bomb fuel plants. Nor will it allow the private sector to make any, because the government wants to control the bomb fuel.

  • sarcasmic||

    Fusion is a welfare program for people with degrees from expensive colleges. Like the practical electric car that has been just over the horizon for over a hundred years, it's not going to happen.
    Nuclear waste is nasty stuff. I'm not a big fan. But hey, if you think you can contain the stuff and keep it safe for tens of thousands of years, knock yourself out.

    I say let the markets decide. When alternatives become economically viable, people will use them.

  • Floridian||

    Nuclear was the energy of the future until Chernobyl and 3 mile island and Fukushima. The death toll from the nuclear industry is none existent but nuclear is not well understood so people are afraid of it. I am not a nuclear physicists but from what I have read it is possible to use spent nuclear rods in different reactors which consume the waste. The issue is government regulations choking out an industry. It is not really fair to say let the markets decide when the government has its boot on the neck of one of the competitors.

  • sarcasmic||

    The issue is government regulations choking out an industry.

    Government regulations are choking out an entire economy. Look around.

  • MJGreen||

    One important change we'll have to make is to put governments in charge of energy production and distribution.

    Good point. Our energy use will go way down then. Way, way down.

    Well, for a while anyway. As efficiency drops, more energy will be consumed for lesser benefits, and we'll be in an even worse position. But at least we'll feel like we're using less energy.

  • ||

    We want cheap abundant energy, and it's hard to get rich off of cheap and abundant things.

    Holy shit that is quite possibly the stupidest thing you have ever said in the 8 years I've been reading here.

  • Tony||

    The industry will embrace solar when it can capture it in tanks and bury them in the earth and charge people to have them drill it up again.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I think the difference is that poverty is a known active measurably problem where climate change is a potential problem.

    I would argue that CC is nothing beyond theoretical problem. It doesn't even reach the level of potential yet, especially being that the theoretical models about what climate change will do to the earth have been completely wrong.

  • Floridian||

    Climate change is real. It is one theory why humans are the only hominids extant. Africa experienced rapid climate change and humans were able to adapt to the rapid change in the environment where the other hominids could not. In that case rapid climate change was good for modern humans. Not so good for the other hominids.

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    You cannot fool me so easily....Warty still exists. Take that in your theory and smoke it!

  • Floridian||

    Smoking warty?
    (Rubs chin)
    I'll pass.

  • Zeb||

    I don't think he is trying to distract from global warming. The article points out that global warming is a slow moving problem that people can adapt to over time, whereas poverty is an immediate problem for the people suffering from it and adapting to poverty tends to perpetuate it.

  • MJGreen||

    Global warming will be much less of a problem for poor people if they're not as poor.

    We can deal with the likely effects of a warmer climate. Unless you're poor and can barely survive the current conditions.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    But poverty and its effects - which are remediable through such easy interventions as cheap or free multivitamins and the creation of more potable water supplies - are with us right now. "Tackling the world's real problems," he notes, "doesn't make for exciting television." But it might actually make for a better world right now.

    This assumes that the vast majority of do-gooders have doing good as their primary concern.

  • Guy Laguy||

    Here's how we can protect ourselves from climate events. work with nature and restore ecosystems

  • Ruckus||

    The wife and I talk about this all the time. How there should be a great charitable and tremendous business opportunity in "helping" the people in true poverty with extracting natural resources, developing land, building infrastructure, creating facilities (factories, saw mills, refineries, etc), bringing technology and knowledge, etc. We have even talked about wanting to do that in the next phase of our life, from both an investment and personal labor point of view.

    Sadly that dream will never happen. In almost every region described, there is a government or an army of thugs that stand in the way.

  • Michael S. Langston||

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